Archaeology of Federal State Schleswig-Holstein and Detector Archaeology
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Stiftung Schleswig-Holsteinische Landesmuseen Schloss Gottorf Schlossinsel 1 D-24837 Schleswig
Archäologisches Landesamt Schleswig-Holstein Brockdorff-Rantzau-Straße 70 D-24837 Schleswig
Wiadomości Archeologiczne 2017;LXVIII:13–18
Volunteer involvement in archaeology has a long and fruitful tradition in Schleswig-Holstein. In the past, this mainly consisted of the collection and recording of stone or pottery artefacts. Recently, however, it became necessary to further develop the integration of volunteers as the easy availability of metal detectors has created a whole new group of interested amateurs who then often tried in vain to contact the appropriate authorities. Since 2004, the so-called ‘Schleswig Model’ has been implemented as a new approach to the problem in Schleswig-Holstein. This aims at integrating volunteer metal detectorists in heritage protection activities and academic research. The volunteers are therefore given theoretical and practical training and are, of course, informed about the relevant legal framework. After completing the curriculum, they are certified by the State Archaeological Office, which is the responsible state authority. One of the basic legal provisos for the success of this model is the fact that the illegal use of metal detectors is punishable by law, and that so-called ‘Treasure Trove’ means that all archaeological finds of historical significance are declared the property of the Federal State of Schleswig-Holstein. Subsequent experience has shown that the model has produced mainly positive results. Regular contact and communication with the volunteer detectorists have meanwhile become an indispensable tool in regional archaeological research. Moreover, ‘enemy’ stereotypes on both sides have dissipated and been replaced by mutual respect and recognition. However, the subsequent work required, especially for the processing of the large quantity of finds (registration, restoration), had been greatly underestimated. Important new prospects have opened up with the development of scientific projects that include systematic surveying with metal detectors, while the publication of the first groups of finds has, in some cases, fundamentally changed our view of the Metal Ages in Schleswig-Holstein. All in all, the author is fully convinced that, given the overwhelmingly positive results of the ‘Schleswig Model’, which is based on cooperation, the solution of the problem of the recognition of metaldetector archaeology as a heritage-conservation and scientific tool at the interface between amateurs and professionals must lie in clear legal and ethical structures – and this before it is too late and the system has got completely out of control.